Accepting Yourself As You Are
Do you have trouble accepting yourself? Many people in recovery get sober and begin to have feelings about their past and the present. When you were drinking or using substances, you probably did things that you feel guilty about. You weren’t at your best when you were high. You may have done some ugly things or said things you didn’t mean. However, when you get sober, you’re beginning the process of leaving that person behind one day at a time. Accepting yourself as you are at this moment can help you start to focus on healing and continuing your recovery one day at a time.
Treatment and 12-step programs emphasize progress, not perfection. No one will ever be able to rid themselves of character flaws. But learning and growing are a part of life. Through recovery, you can continue to challenge yourself to live a better and more fulfilling life.
What is Self-Acceptance?
Self-acceptance means you accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. This can be hard for people when they first get sober. Everyone who gets sober carries some pain from their old lifestyle. As you stay sober for some time, you’ll start to recognize that some of your behavior doesn’t suit you. For example, maybe you’re quick to get angry or feel like you let others walk all over you. You may feel shame when you act out in old behaviors.
Everyone has character flaws that they need to work on. But, these can’t be the focus of your life if you’re going to enjoy your recovery! Rather than “beat yourself up” when you make a mistake, accept responsibility and try to do better next time. You’re only human. Forgive yourself for making a mistake. This can help go a long way toward healing and growth.
Beginning to Accept Yourself
Accepting the fact that you’ll never be perfect can lift a weight off of your shoulders. You’re a human being, after all, just like everyone else. Humans all have flaws and things they need to work on in life.
Here are some ways to begin accepting yourself:
- Challenge negative self-talk. Do you have a critic in your head who tells you that you’re “not good enough”? Take time to write down an answer explaining why you ARE good enough. Then, the next time you start to think negative thoughts, pull out your answer. (If you don’t know the answer to what makes you “good enough,” call your sponsor or a good friend and ask them to help you counter negative self-talk.)
- Practice self-care. Self-care is a form of nurturing that you can only provide for yourself. Set aside at least ten minutes a day for self-care. Color in an adult coloring book, go for a jog or take a long bath. You're worth taking care of, and by doing this you're sending your body that message.
- Stop comparing your outsides with other people’s. When you go to therapy or 23-step meetings, close your eyes when listening to speakers. This will help you relate to others without focusing on the things that make you feel insecure.
- Aim for progress, not perfection! Every day you’re getting better. Keep a list of small victories, whether it’s hydrating yourself all day or finally getting the courage to speak at an AA meeting. You know yourself best! It’s okay to feel good about how you’re changing, but don’t let yourself slack.
You can accept yourself and your weaknesses and still work to change. Recovery is a journey, not a destination.
A bit of self-acceptance will help you stay humble along the way. You know you’re not perfect, but you can still strive for progress. And that's okay!
Sober Living Options
Are you looking for a sober living home in the San Diego area? We offer a great environment with both community and structure to help you maintain your recovery as you live life on its terms. Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about how we can help!